Surrender: Collapsing into Him
He said it suddenly, and the words pierced through my heart.
“I just want you to be open to God about your future as I am.”
Inside, I wanted to protest, and say, Yes, I’m just as open as you are. I’m completely surrendered to God’s plan. But instead, tears came.
We sat on top of the mountain on that big rock overlooking a beautiful valley, and time froze. I hugged him tight and with each tear that streamed down, I realized, this is what surrender looks like. This is what trusting God feels like.
Knowing that you are His, and feeling that He is yours, are two different things.
I knew that God wanted me to let go and surrender to Him, and collapse in His arms. But I hadn’t felt yet that no matter what happened in the future, He would hold me there.
Sometimes I think when it comes to our plans, we want God to map out just how it’s going to go before we’re willing to take a single step. I have been doing this for months – mapping, negotiating with God, praying prayers that were hopeful but slightly slanted to my will.
And God has given me dreams – dreams that I never anticipated having. Dreams that are specific, narrow, and direct. Ironically, after giving me these dreams, God has clearly asked me to lay them down.
That hardly makes sense at first. Lay them down, God? Why in the world would you give me something you want me to let go of?
But it does make sense. God gives us dreams not so that we can possess them – but so we can chase Him. He puts us in situations that our minds could never understand how to control, possess, or arrange. This is the space where He does His best work.
He wants to keep being our God. He wants to keep holding us.
It’s so much easier to hold onto anything else instead of God. Tim Keller once gave a sermon that identified four Gods we are prone to hold onto: security, control, influence, and affirmation. Each person identifies more with some of these than the others.
I cling to affirmation. I want to know before I can trust God, that I’m doing the right thing by others. I want to talk to my mom, my boyfriend, my friends…get opinion after opinion. I do listen to my own heart and to God, but to be honest, I fight before I give God the final ruling. I can ask God to line up with my plan before I’m willing to let go.
But God asks us to surrender, and to collapse into Him, first. Otherwise, we’ll set our hearts on our dreams instead of Him. Psalm 37:4 says,
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Many times we place false hope in this notion: God is so good that He’ll give me the things that I want. But really, God is so good that He sometimes can’t give us the things that we want. Instead, He helps us to want for better things. He refines us, breathes into us, and molds our will into His.
This molding process takes time, and time to develop an honest willingness to surrender.
John Eldridge writes in his book Desire, “Spiritual surrender is not resignation. It is not choosing to care no longer… ‘it is surrender with desire, or in desire.’ Desire is still present, felt, welcomed even. But the will to secure is made subject to the divine will in an act of abandoned trust.”
I think that’s all our heavenly Father wants from us, girls. Just abandon.
Abandoning our will. Surrendering our desires. And choosing to trust Him, even when it’s hard.
John Eldridge also writes, that after we give over our hearts to God, “the freedom and beauty and rest that follow are among the greatest of all surprises.”
And it’s so true. We feel we need all these things to create joy, to create the life that we want. We have to have that dream or that house or that relationship or that job. But God knows what we need. He knows what’s true.
We can only find true rest when we collapse into His arms.
We find rest from the grasping. Rest from the wanting. Rest from feeling not good enough. Rest from our fears of disappointing. Rest from fears of being forgotten.
We can find this rest because God will never forget us. He makes us enough. He loves us completely. And He satisfies our desires.
My favorite Psalm for the last several months has been this Psalm 16. It’s full of promises and a reminder of God’s heart toward us.
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
O my soul, you have said to the LORD,
‘You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.’…
O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup,
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance…
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Girls, we are safe in His arms. We can collapse now. Let our tears flow if they have to. Let our joy spill out.
We’re home. And we’re His.
May 19, 2016
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